Archive for May 5, 2019

The Big Three Carriers Don’t Remove “Device Subsidy” Charges From Your Bill Once Your Phone Is Paid For… Here’s How To Avoid This Trap

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 5, 2019 by itnerd

If you’re a customer of Bell, Rogers, and Telus, and you get a phone from them directly, You are almost certainly paying them what is called a “device subsidy”. In short. you are paying off the cost of the phone via monthly payments that may be combined with a nominal up front cost. That way you don’t have to shell out $1500 up front for the latest iPhone or Galaxy Phone.

Now as soon as the phone is paid off, that “device subsidy” should come off your bill. Except that it doesn’t come off your bill. Global News has a story that shows that these “device subsidies” are remaining on their bills long after their phones have been paid for. In other words, if you got your phone in this manner, you’re being ripped off by the big thee telcos. And if you call them on it, you may find it is easier to switch carriers rather than to fight. Which is not how things should work. On top of that there is nothing in the wireless code that stops the big three telcos from doing this, which is also not how things should work.

So, how can you avoid being a victim of this? It’s simple really. Never, ever buy a phone at a subsidized price from a big three telco or an authorized agent of a big three telco. That way you never fall into this trap. I will freely admit that you are going to pay way more than a cell phone than you might be used to because you are paying for the full value of the phone up front. But by biting that bullet, you get the following in return:

  • You get to pick the carrier that you want and get a plan, usually called a BYOD or “bring your own device” plan at a lower rate, often with no contract.
  • If the carrier in question does something to make you mad, you can switch carriers easily.
  • You can take the phone overseas and use a local SIM card and avoid the insane roaming fees that the big three telcos charge. Sure you lose your Canadian number while you are overseas, but you will save a ton of cash so it is totally worth it.

The fact is that this illustrates that the big three telcos in Canada really do not have your best interests in mind. If they did, they wouldn’t be doing this. But since they don’t, and the CRTC nor the federal government show no interest in fixing this, consumers have to protect themselves from becoming victims of this trap that the big three telcos have set for their customers.